As music journalists, we get thrown a ton of music. Sometimes, though, there is a diamond in the rough that we just have to share with our readers. Enter Spirits, based out of Portland, OR. Comprised of Sean Beard (ex-Simon Says Die, Vocals), Riley Rose (ex-We Rise the Tides, Guitar/Vocals), Jackson Coffey (S.O.S. (Seperation of Sanity), (Drums) and Michael Brinkley (Ghost Town Grey, Bass/Vocals). Since the beginning, I’ve been wholly impressed by these guys and equally excited to finally see how their debut release turned out. Novellas is a labor of love, blood, sweat, tears and hardship. Throughout the time it took to create the album, there were several obstacles in the way that made them question if what they were doing was worth it. The emotion that flows through the lyrics that Beard sings is astounding and will take the listener through the ringer. While the band can easily be pigeon-holed into the post-hardcore genre, they display influences from 00s bands like The Used (who, ironically enough, they covered via “Blue and Yellow”) as well as punk and hardcore influences.
Most of the vocals you hear on the EP are provided by Beard, who’s range is both impressive and apparent through each song. While he chooses to soar with most of his vocal parts, his ability to back down into a softer vocal style at the drop of a hat really brings depth to these tracks. The screams, shared by Rose and Beard, are on a very impressive level, as well. In terms of the guitar parts, there is nothing really complex or “flashy” but that isn’t needed in this style of music. While there are some pretty well-done guitar solos here and there, it’s the way that each guitar melody manages to create an atmosphere, that makes Rose stand out. Outside of the vocals, Coffey
‘s drumming is bombastic, giving a huge sound to each track. The title Novellas was not just at random. Each track provides a theme that connects as a story, when playing the EP front to back.
These tracks don’t follow any formulas, nor any pre-conceived notions of what the genre “should” sound like. They created music that they knew would sound good, would feel good and, most importantly, that they are proud of. Each track builds and breaks in its own way, sometimes building to the bridge before exploding but more often building into the first chorus. This is especially prevalent in the band’s first single, “Forever & Always” which has a haunting, yet beautiful melody that leads into the first chorus and just continues to add layers from there. I think the MOST impressive thing about this band, though, is how apparent their relationship with one another is. This is a band of brothers, clearly giving each other the space and not feeling the need to compete with one another. Another very impressive thing is that these vocals that you hear are raw, unprocessed and emotional as you would expect them to be.
Spirits has begun to weave a path to what’s sure to be a long and successful career. They sold out their CD release show at the historic Paris Theatre, where they played the EP in its entirety, along with a cover of Backstreet Boys “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)!” While the band remains independent at this point, it won’t be long until labels are knocking down their door, begging for a piece. Novellas has quickly become one of my favorite releases of the year and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out. Physical copies can be purchased through the link below, as well as at the band’s shows (more info coming) and you can stream/download it at your favorite digital retailers today.
Sean Beard – Vocals
Riley Rose – Guitar/Vocals
Jackson Coffey – Drums
Michael Brinkley – Bass/Vocals